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Festivals on ETEP: “It’s not just about the bands”

After a record year for the European Talent Exchange Programme, festival promoters tell IQ the initiative has become a key part of their booking process

By IQ on 09 Dec 2016

Otherkin, Lowlands, Etep

ETEP act Otherkin play Lowlands 2016

image © Otherkin

The European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP), founded in 2003 by Eurosonic Noorderslag to increase the cross-border circulation of music in Europe, celebrated its best-ever year in 2016, with 402 confirmed shows at participating events by 148 artists from 27 European countries.

ETEP counts among its membership 100 of Europe’s leading music festivals – and in light of the initiative’s record-breaking 2016, IQ caught up with just a few, asking their opinion of the programme and how it affects their booking decisions…

Etep keeps UK agents on their toes. … Now they’re afraid they might miss something important

Eric van Eerdenburg, festival director, Lowlands
ETEP has raised awareness that there is good-quality music from other countries, rather than just music of Anglo-American origin.

It raised pride within the European music scene that different cultural influences, different crossovers, are a good thing, and that we have to tour and promote these acts as festival and tour promoters. We shouldn’t just watch the UK, America and the exceptional world music talent from Africa and far-away exotic countries: It also happens here, right under our noses!

ETEP has also played a role in raising the level of professionalism of European managers and agents – and has kept the UK agency world on its toes. British agents come and watch the talent being presented with different eyes than they did ten years ago: 10–15 years ago they did not watch at all – now they are afraid they might miss something important. They actually want acts for their rosters – if they can get them, that is…

The music business is too often focused on the US and UK, but we have plenty of great artists, too

Alex Stevens, head of programme, Dour Festival
We book 250–300 acts per year and have been focused on European artists for a long time, so naturally we have a lot of ETEP acts playing Dour every year.

Of course, by booking ETEP acts it reduces our costs, but my booking decisions are only taken on an artistic basis!

I think it’s important to promote European music and European culture, which is rich and exciting. The music business is too often focused on the US and UK, but we have plenty of great artists, too.

The musical quality is usually brilliant

Stephan Thanscheidt, managing director, FKP Scorpio
We are part of Etep with a lot of festivals in different countries from our roster, and book many Etep acts every year.

The musical quality is usually brilliant, and the inter-European circulation of this talent gets stronger every year.

Etep is not just about the bands: it’s also a great network to exchange information with bookers from all over Europe

Dany Hassenstein, booker, Paléo Festival Nyon
ETEP is great for up-and-coming bands. It fits perfectly with our booking process: we announce our line-up in March, and January is perfect timing to look at completing the line-up with new bands.

There’s no obligation for us to book ETEP bands – but, since the programme exists, Paléo has always booked bands from it, as ETEP acts are very well pre-selected and of high quality.

But ETEP is not only about the bands: it’s also a great network to exchange information with bookers from all over Europe. And this is as important as finding the new future headliners!


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